We asked ALT Scholar Elmond Bandauko to share some of the academic and professional highlights of the past year in Canada.
What major lesson about public policy/public administration do you have to share with fellow students and professionals in your field?
Studying in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Western University has been an eye opening experience for me. This past year I have learned two key lessons from the Canadian experience in public policy and administration:
- Transparency and Accountability are key factors for good governance at all levels of government. The Canadian public sector is structured in such a way that transparency and accountability officers in the form of ombudsmen, integrity commissioners and closed-door meeting investigators play a significant role in maintaining these two core governance values.
- Civic Engagement in policy processes is important. In my policy evaluation class, I participated in a community engaged learning project, learning about the City of London’s Neighborhood Decision Making initiatives. These initiatives foster civic engagement and and empower communities by giving residents an opportunity to decide how part of the municipal budget will be spent. Through my Major Research Project (MRP) on the Rethink London Public Engagement Strategy, I continue to draw lessons and best practices on civic engagement in local government policy processes, an area I feel my home country Zimbabwe needs to be improved. I hope to carry the lessons forward as I prepare for my career in public policy.
What was the best conference or workshop you attended this year and why?
In the fall I attended the Local Government Alumni Conference (#LocalGov2017) at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Center. This was an opportunity for me to learn from some of Canada’s foremost experts on municipal policy issues. The conference covered critical policy issues including future-focused community building, infrastructure financing and dynamics of municipal-federal relations in Canada.
What was your best class of the year? What did you learn?
My best Class of 2017 was Research Design and Methods in Public Administration with Professor Zack Taylor. He is one of the best Professors I have met. I have some research experience, but through this class I learned to think about it in a much more systematic way. One intriguing lesson for me was the ladder of abstraction which comprise of the domain (general field of inquiry), problem/theory (general phenomenon of interest), research question (specific question that specifies units of observation, time period of analysis & location) and hypothesis (expected relationship-if aim of research is explanation, testing, diagnosis or evaluation). In doing research, one must be sure that they are operating at the correct position on the ladder of abstraction, which is at the level of the research question and hypothesis in some cases.
Elmond Bandauko in an African Leaders of Tomorrow scholar from Zimbabwe. He is pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at Western University